In Storage or ‘In Situ’? 75-Year-Old Artist Guillaume Bijl Works From Home Surrounded by His Weird and Wonderful Large-Scale Sculptures

On Manhattan’s Higher East Facet, Belgian artist Guillaume Bijl has designed a fortune teller’s den, decked out with glowing neon indications and embroidered floor pillows scattered throughout a plush pink carpet. The installation now on watch at Meredith Rosen Gallery is Bijl at his best: a spirited and humorous aesthetic that hints at deeper, and at times darker, undercurrents. 

Bijl, who is now 75, 1st rose to interest in the 1960s as a self-taught artist painting in a style that mimicked anything from Impressionism to Surrealism. By the late 1970s, he’d started to incorporate located objects and genuine residence decor into his increasingly elaborate vignettes. These opulently detailed installations have appear to embody a kind of comedian archaeology of up to date society and purchaser tradition.

On the celebration of his latest exhibition, we caught up with the artist, who instructed us about his peripatetic studio follow and why he despises “arty” artwork. 

Installation view "Fortune Teller" 2021. Courtesy of Meredith Rosen Gallery.

Set up look at Fortune Teller 2021. Courtesy of Meredith Rosen Gallery.

What are the most indispensable goods in your studio and why?

I’m not so substantially a “studio artist”. I’m extra of an “in situ” artist, specially with my huge-scale installations. Despite the fact that, for the past couple yrs, I have experienced a studio in my residence to make some scaled-down will work, most of the residence is storage area. In excess of the past 30 yrs, I’ve executed real looking figures in wax, polyester, bronze or aluminum in my assistant’s studio or at bronze foundries.

The most indispensable things in my studio are my handy assistant, simply because I’m technically clumsy—I have never drilled anything in my life, for example—and a computer system. 

Is there a image you can send of your get the job done in development?

Here's an image of my temporary studio at a bronze foundry with Festive Figures from Europa-Plein.

In this article is an impression of my temporary studio at a bronze foundry with Festive Figures from my project Europa-Plein.

What is the undertaking on your agenda tomorrow that you are most seeking ahead to?

One particular of my painted bronze sculptures is currently being put in in a park in Haarlem in the Netherlands. 

What type of environment do you want when you function? Do you hear to music or podcasts, or do you desire silence? Why?

I have no sound system in my studio, but I at times hear to track record audio from my living room, largely R&B.

What trait do you most admire in a function of art? What trait do you most despise?

I like artwork with content and with some kind of humor, with its very own unique sort, fashion and expressivity. I do not like “arty” art—dramatic, low-cost, sensational artwork, or academism of any form.

Guillaume Bijl, Sorry (2021). Photography by Steven DeCroos. Courtesy of the artist and Meredith Rosen Gallery.

Guillaume Bijl, Sorry (2021). Pictures by Steven DeCroos. Courtesy of the artist and Meredith Rosen Gallery.

What snack food could your studio not purpose with no?

Cigarettes… I never consume though I’m working. I consume coffee and iced inexperienced tea, and smoke Camel Blues. 

Who are your favorite artists, curators, or other thinkers to comply with on social media right now?

Cindy Sherman, Kerry James Marshall, Ben Vautier, Otobong Nkanga, Jerry Saltz, amongst lots of some others.

Studio and storage in his home, here with Bij's "Pre-Historic Man" installation (1996). Photograph by the artist.

Studio and storage in Bij’s residence, in this article with things of the installation Pre-Historic Person (1996). Photograph by the artist.

When you experience caught in the studio, what do you do to get un-caught?

I rarely get trapped. I do the job on a piece of art until eventually I show it in public—some works change months later on. Deadlines support make my work and decisions extra exact.

What is the last exhibition you observed (virtual or usually) that built an impact on you?

The past awesome exhibit I saw was “Silent Vision” at the Beyeler Fondation in Basel this summer months, which bundled operates by Monet, Giacometti, Matisse, Rothko, Marlene Dumas. Every artist was exhibited in a independent place.

If you had to place collectively a temper board, what would be on it suitable now?

Day-to-day is a different temper board. In some cases I can set every little thing into standpoint, pay attention to a good live performance, observe a splendid movie. Other times, when I’m reflecting on this nuts society, I’m in a doubtful temper, dreading additional digitalization and synthetic intelligence. There’s the pressure of some people however dwelling in the Center Ages, when other folks are in a neoliberal, science fiction dream that’s exploiting the producing environment and nature. 

Guillaume Bijl: Set up (Fortune Teller)” is on see at Meredith Rosen Gallery by November 13, 2021. 

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Kenneth Proto

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